Edward Cheserek, a Kenyan-born junior studying at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., became the fourth boys back-to-back winner of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego on Saturday, pulling away with two miles to go in the 5,000-meter race. Cheserek finished in 14 minutes, 59 seconds, seven seconds slower than his winning time last year, but six seconds ahead of runner-up Sean McGorty of Chantilly, Va., who took the early lead.
Cheserek broke away from McGorty and the rest of the pack on a downhill following the two-mile mark.
"It helps having run here before so that I could know when it was time to make my move," Cheserek said. "I'm happy with the way I ran."
Sophomore Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka, Ind., the girls winner, overcame being tripped in the first 400 meters to finish in 17:25. Catarina Rocha of Veterans Memorial (Peabody, Mass.) was second in 17:29.
"I was definitely thankful that I was tripped at the beginning of the race, not at the middle or the end because I got passed by about 10 runners when it happened," Rohrer said."I was mad at first, but then I told myself to calm down and pick up the pace. I was pretty out of breath when I caught up to the pack, but I settled down. I never felt that I had the race won. I just ran as hard as I could at the end."
Rohrer is the second Hoosier female winner of the event with Celeste Susnis of Kankakee Valley (Wheatfield, Ind.) winning in 1988.
Abdirizak Mohamud, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Lukas Verzbicas are the other back-to-back male Foot Locker winners. Cheserek could become the first three-time winner if he competes next year.